In keeping with the theme of giving during the holiday season, Vans Cars & Trucks in Brooksville paid it forward again this year with a vehicle to a recipient in need. But this time, the gesture was directed toward a whole organization, created to assist single mothers with their children, and therefore became a gift for many.Larry VanFossen, owner of Vans Cars & Trucks in Brooksville on South Broad Street, said it is important that his business continue the tradition of giving, which began that very first year his doors opened more than 25 years ago.
“It started with holiday gift baskets for our customers we felt were most in need,” VanFossen said. In later years they collected more than 50 bicycles they “rehabbed” and gave away to needy children.
Last year, the Christmas Car Giveaway was launched, an idea that was first suggested by Van Fossen’s 15-year senior employee, James Holbrook.
“We took a ‘nothing special’ but otherwise sound car and set it up with as much new as we could, with new tires, new brakes, new battery, new belts and hoses, oil change, paint, interior rehab and all else until we had a very respectable vehicle,” VanFossen said.
Entries came from across the community, describing how the car would impact their lives.
“The winner was a hard-working single mom that was moving ahead with her life,” VanFossen said. “The car made a huge difference for her.”
And there were others equally heart-felt, giving VanFossen a glimpse of how big the need really was in his own community.
One of last year’s applicants lingered in VanFossen’s mind all year, he said. “It stood out as different,” he recalled.
He later met the source of that entry, Kit Raymond, from The Life Center in Brooksville. The organization provides services, including shelter and food, for local single mothers and their children.
The Life Center was envisioned in 2001 and designated a 501(c)3 in 2002. The not for profit organization is dependent on volunteers and has helped rehabilitate thousands of local moms and their children.
“Kit Raymond from The Life Center told